Image by shainelee via FlickrI just ran across a recent thought-provoking article in the Christian Science Monitor, called "Are Ethics Too Expensive? about companies cutting back on ethics training due to budget pressures.
This got me thinking on a number of fronts:
- How can we measure the long-term ramifications of these decisions? I spend a good part of my time at work thinking about how to prove the positive return on investment for ethics programs. So little hard data exists I find the same statistics being used over and over in the media (the cost of fraud, according to the ACFE, the increased shareholder value for the Ethisphere "Most Ethical Companies," etc.). But if there's a lack of hard data to prove the positive, there's even less to show the adverse affects of a poor ethical culture (unless you take what's written in the popular media every time a company on Wall Street fails). I'd love to know which companies are cutting back and track their performance over time - I'll bet they suffer.
- Given that we're all under pressure to keep costs down, you can't just argue to keep spending flat to previous years, much less increase it. So - instead of cutting training altogether or severely cutting back on it, have these companies looked at new ways to deliver the training? I filled in for our CEO David Childers today on a "Use of Social Media in Compliance" webinar and talked about ways companies can use Web 2.0 technologies and sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, LinkedIn, etc. within their compliance programs. Based on the instant polls we conducted, not many organizations have embraced Web 2.0 yet. There are a lot of cool and inexpensive ways to deliver your training if you're willing to try new things.